real_tennis

Junior Sol Eskenazi has solidified her status as Penn's most versatile player this year, helping the Quakers win the doubles point in a loss to Princeton last weekend. 

Photo: Patrick Hulce

For Penn women’s tennis, this weekend is all about redemption.

On Friday, the Quakers (7-5, 0-1 Ivy) will hit the road for a pair of back-to-back matches, first facing Brown (11-5) in Providence, R.I. , then turning around quickly for a Saturday matinee against No. 52 Yale (8-7) in New Haven, Conn.

The matches are timely for the Red and Blue. Last week, the squad fought hard against Princeton but ultimately couldn’t keep it together, falling by a 5-2 margin. Now that they’ve had a week to reflect on the loss, they’re looking forward to getting back on track.

“Every Ivy match is crucial. Nine months of work and training culminate into the Ivy season,” coach Sanela Kunovac said. “[But] coming off Princeton the week before, it would be great to get back into winning ways and to change the record.”

It won’t be easy.

Last year, the Red and Blue were able to top Brown by a 4-3 margin, relying on big wins from then-juniors Sol Eskenazi and Alex Ion in singles matches to slip by the Bears. The two weren’t as lucky the following day against the Bulldogs, as the Quakers fell, 5-2, despite a win from Eskenazi at the No. 1 spot.

This year, the two have been dominant in separate doubles pairs, as the Red and Blue swept all three doubles matches against the Tigers last week to earn the doubles point, an occurrence that has become commonplace.

Though the Quakers have proven their dominance in doubles play all season, both the Bears and the Elis are brimming with talent that will undoubtedly pose problems for the Red and Blue at every position.

Brown has relied on a young lineup all season, utilizing freshman Dayna Lord at the No. 1 position in both singles and doubles play.

Meanwhile, the Elis have been invigorated by the success of superstar sophomore Madeleine Hamilton — last year’s Ivy Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-Ivy selection — at the No. 1 spot. Just as lethal in doubles play, she and sophomore Ree Ree Li are dominating the Ancient Eight this year and are sitting tight at No. 58 in the national Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Penn will have to deploy its best lineup to have a fighting chance.

“We have to [execute] what we established we needed to work on,” Kunovac said. “But we’re ready to go into battle.”

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